Neil Waters, owner of Classified Records
What’s your favourite thing about Dundalk?
I love the fact it’s infamous. There are loads of nondescript places in Ireland but our town is not one of them.
Dundalk’s evolved and shaken off old stereotypes, it’s still got a reputation (and that’s a good thing) but yet it continues to pleasantly surprise people with its subtle beauty and warm-natured people.
What would your perfect day in the local area be — and why?
On my day off; have a lie-in, a lazy breakfast and then take the dog for an epic walk somewhere down the coast. I’m actually getting over losing a dog recently; the only way to mend my broken heart is to get a new one.
What would you like to change about Dundalk?
The addition of a coastline walk from Soldiers Point all the way out to Blackrock would be awesome.
What annoys you about the town?
Very little really, I’m proud to be from Dundalk so to condemn it would be hypocritical.
But, people skipping the queue when a new one forms in Lidl really does grind my gears. The council putting in speed bumps on a road full of potholes always cracks me up too.
What plans do you have for the rest of year?
We’ll continue to work hard in the shop, trying to improve a little bit every day. We’ll be 3 years old in August but there’s always room for improvement and evolution.
Then around the end of September, I plan to take a holiday to the Mediterranean and go off the grid completely for a week or two.
How would you describe Dundalk people?
There’s so much diversity in our town nowadays, I don’t think it’s easy to categorise people anymore. We all share this town together and it’s brilliant to see people from all over the globe, of all colour, creed and religions, calling this place ‘home’.
We’re not culchies, we’re not city-types, we’re Dundalk and we have something especially unique about us.
Where's the best place to go for a walk in the local area?
There are lots of places, we’re spoilt for choice, but the walk up to the top of Clogherhead is magic. We’ve got a beautifully understated coastline. Some of the old British country manor houses are amazing too; a wander through Stephenstown Manor or Louth Hall is incredible, as is Roche Castle.
What local amenities could Dundalk do with?
A new Oriel Park would be nice. The football team has brought great success and pride back to the town in recent years, after all, we are a football town so this is vital to our existence.
Hopefully, the new American owners will put their money where their mouths are and build us a multi-purpose stadium, adding to the allure of Dundalk as a town.
What’s your first memory of Dundalk?
Hanging out in my Dad’s shop, Emerald Sports. Going to Martin’s toyshop on Clanbrassil Street with my Grandfather to get dinkies, I remember their sliding glass panels with all the miniature cars lined up inside. It was heaven!
What's your favourite story you've heard about Dundalk?
There’s too many, we’re a town of characters but....apparently Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy used to go to the Roma for their dinner every time they played in the Afton Club.
They sat at the same table down the back, sneaking in whiskey to wash down their pre-gig fish ‘n’ chips.
There should be a commemorative plaque next to this table; a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll history maybe Bernie and Joe don’t even know about.
What's your favourite Dundalk slang/phrase?
There are loads but ‘mon the town’ is now ubiquitous. Our accent is infamous too, it gives us an identity, and it almost feels like we’re the Geordies of Ireland, our own little republic of townies.
Where is your favourite pub in Dundalk and why?
The Spirit Store. It’s got a nice bohemian vibe to it with a great selection of beers and a beautiful scenic landscape to enjoy from the harbour that really shouldn’t be taken for granted.
I’ve been DJing down there for 10 years now and they’ve been a great supporter of the local music scene.
Do you think young people are buying records? What's your average customer age?
Yes, people of all ages are buying records again. Music is an inherited thing, as parents and older siblings pass on their love of music to the younger ones; this allows the cyclical process to endlessly continue. We’ve sold Pink Floyd records to 12-year-olds; we sell jazz LPs to hip hop fans.
People everywhere are dusting down their old collections and breathing new life into a format that was once considered obsolete.
What would you say to people who prefer to shop for bargain records online instead of calling into
their local record store?
We can’t do much about that, internet shopping has been a feature of our lives for over 15 years now. Why try competing with Amazon.com? They are one of the biggest companies in the world.
Discogs has over 10 million release listings on their site, that’s another universe compared to our little shop. Also, people have such diverse taste, it would be impossible for us to stock everything that's available online. But we offer an interaction rather than just a transaction and people dig that too.
Do you think Dundalk people have good music taste?
Of course, Dundalk’s always been a hotbed of music. Music taste is subjective. Your ears are yours alone and you’re allowed listen to whatever kind of music you want. There’s no elitism here and we never judge people on their purchases. We’re just happy to be providing a service to Dundalk, existing and surviving; being able to pay the rent while doing something we love doing.